Last week, GameTrailers announced it was closing down after thirteen years, and I could not be any sadder. This is a classic case of not appreciating something good in your life until it’s gone. I didn’t realize until today how much entertainment I have received from their content, which has helped tremendously in coping with the loneliness that comes with living overseas. When you are isolated by unfamiliar surroundings and a language barrier, coming home to a familiar face through the computer screen helps improve the mood quite a bit. That’s how it felt watching Kyle Bosman’s regular segment on their YouTube channel recently. One of my most fond memories over the past twelve months was their reaction videos to the Final Fantasy VII and Shenmue 3 E3 announcements. It made me realize that the guys over at GameTrailers were simply fans that produced content. Seeing the absolute excitement from them when ‘Remake’ flashed across the screen brought the biggest smile to my face.
It wasn’t just Bosman either. Everyone that was part of the GameTrailers operation will be sorely missed. Perhaps the most notable though is Brandon Jones. Throughout the years it has been his voice that has been the staple of the website. I would also argue that because of his narration, GameTrailers videos were a cut above the rest. It may be difficult to put into words what exactly made his voice stand out, but it has a special quality to it that no one else ever truly replicated. As GameTrailers finally extended to YouTube after a lot of resistance, other personalities like the aforementioned Bosman and Kyle Huber started to emerge with their own content. It was different from the site’s standard stuff in that was more free form and it brought a change of pace to the reviews and structured segments GameTrailers was used to doing. More importantly, it allowed the audience to see behind the curtains and see more people responsible for the operation other than Brandon Jones. Having notable personalities as part of any endeavor is always worthwhile and I will miss Huber and Bosman just as much as the narration and video reviews GameTrailers has become famous for since the beginning.
One must wonder about what brought upon the end now that it is here, and the answer seems to be a rather obvious one. Other organizations, sites, and individuals routinely lose their livelihood in the gaming industry, but I don’t think any can attribute the downfall to YouTube more than GameTrailers can. In the 2000s, before the rise of YouTube, the GameTrailers website used its own video player and was a primary source for video content when it came to gaming. It was responsible for exclusive E3 coverage and was host to unique content such as Gaming Retrospectives and Pop Fiction. When YouTube became a stable on the internet, GameTrailers was reluctant to convert. No layman can ever know the true answer, but it is likely they wanted to host their own material and drive as much traffic to the site as possible. The biggest issue with this endeavor was the video player, which people routinely reported problems with. Consequently, people looked elsewhere for their video entertainment, and YouTube and later Twitch, were able to provide that outlet. GameTrailers eventually moved over to YouTube with two separate channels and it experienced resurgence after the layoffs a few years back. Ultimately, this wasn’t enough to keep GameTrailers afloat. With the site’s demise, I truly hope the men behind it can either find work elsewhere or band together to create their own project. As a fan, I would be more than happy to support new content created by them. I am still left wondering though what direction the gaming industry and online content is heading in the years to come.